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deal w O via the NFL Players Inc. licensing- unit. "Since partnering in 2013, and have helped nearly 1,000 players connect with hundreds of brands to share campaigns, reaching more than 1 billion fans worldwide."

• The has named Shenzhen, as the host city for 2019-2028, a deal that includes the building of a 12K-seat venue, and doubling the prize money to $14M for the Top 8 singles players and Top 8 doubles teams.

• Overwatch League said that its first week of competition drew more than 10 million viewers via Twitch, MLG, and Chinese streaming partners ZhanQi TV, NetEase CC and Panda TV. Opening day had an average audience per minute of 408,000.

• Coca-Cola, International Speedway Corp. and Nascar have signed an extension to their partnerships under which Coca-Cola, would "continue its deep-rooted history in the sport by engaging racing fans across Nascar’s three national series and 12 ISC-operated race tracks" and events including the Coca-Cola 600 and the Coca-Cola 400. Coca-Cola-sponsored drivers include Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. Coca-Cola said it "has been involved with stock car racing for 50 years," and became an official partner with Nascar in 1998.

• NBC Olympics will debut Olympic Ice Presented by Toyota, a live, daily figure skating show airing nightly (7 PM ET) on NBCSN beginning Feb. 10 and continuing through Feb. 24. Live Olympic figure skating competition will follow the show in primetime. NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will present a digital-exclusive version of Olympic Ice Presented by Toyota immediately following prime-time coverage beginning Feb. 8.

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Top NBA All-Star Game Votes (To Date)
Eastern Conference
1.  Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 863,416
2.  LeBron James (CLE) 856,080
3.  Kyrie Irving (BOS) 802,834
4.  Joel Embiid (PHI) 433,161
5. Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 359,459
6.  DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 259,368
7.  Victor Oladipo (IND) 251,886
8.  Kevin Love (CLE) 221,969
9.  Ben Simmons (PHI) 210,085
10. John Wall (WAS) 175,990
Western Conference
1. Kevin Durant (GSW) 767,402
2. Stephen Curry (GSW) 735,115
3. James Harden (HOU) 602,040
4. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 438,469
5. Klay Thompson (GSW) 359,442
6. DeMarcus Cousins (NOP) 356,340
7. Draymond Green (GSW) 325,612
8. Manu Ginobili (SAS) 231,460
9. Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 212,650
10. Carmelo Anthony (OKC) 194,239

The 67th NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. TNT will televise (8 PM ET)

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Top-Selling NFL Jerseys By Team 2017 At Dick’s Sporting Goods
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. New England Patriots
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Denver Broncos
6. Carolina Panthers
7. New York Giants
8. Seattle Seahawks
9. Atlanta Falcons
10. Cincinnati Bengals
11. Houston Texans
12. Minnesota Vikings
13. Detroit Lions
14. Chicago Bears
15. Green Bay Packers
16. Oakland Raiders
17. Kansas City Chiefs
18. Baltimore Ravens
19. Washington Redskins
20. Arizona Cardinals

SOURCE: DICK'S SPORTING GOODS

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Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Friday
Jan292016

Despite Obstacles, WNBA, Marketers Look Ahead, Honor Past For 20th Season

By Barry Janoff

January 28, 2016: When the WNBA launched in April 1996 and began play in June 1997, there were critics aplenty who foresaw a short live for the NBA's distaff partner.

On May 14, the WNBA is scheduled to begin its 20th season of play, still facing critics, dealing with growth issues and other challenges, but solid with players, marketing partners and a rabid fan base.

A new multi-media campaign, "Watch Me Work," touts not only current stars such as 2015 MVP Elena Delle Donne, WNBA Finals MVP Maya Moore, WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi (who missed the 2015 season to focus on playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League), Skylar Diggins and Candace Parker, but looks back at the players who drove the league and inspired players through its first two decades.

The 2015 anthem campaign was "Watch Me."

Last year, the WNBA faced several significant hurdles, including the departure of president Laurel Richie "to pursue other interests," (NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum has been overseeing the WNBA on an interim basis), soft attendance and criticism from NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

"I think we might have been ahead of ourselves 20 years ago in terms of what we were doing, (In 2015, interest is) not where we hoped it would be," Silver said during a sports marketing conference in September. "We thought it would have broken through by now. We thought ratings and attendance would be higher.”

According to Silver, "In terms of our marketing overall, we may have lost our way at certain points."

To Silver's point, the WNBA's average attendance in 2015 was 7,318, the lowest in league history. The average was down 3% from 2014 and down from a one-season high average of 10,864 in 2009.

Silver later clarified that he and the NBA were very supportive of the WNBA. "We are 100% committed to the league," he said.

Also supportive of the league are a roster of national marketing partners.

WNBA Tip-Off 2016 will be presented by Verizon. It consists of 12 games over nine days — May 14-22 — including the home opener of every team.

Samsung was the presenting partner for both the 2015 WNBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.

Marketing partners also include adidas, American Express, BBVA Compass, Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light), Coca-Cola, Diageo, EA Sports, Gatorade, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, SAP, Spalding and State Farm.

Several teams ended the 2015 season with jersey-sponsor deals, including the Washington Mystics (Draft Ops), Chicago Sky (Magellan), Minnesota Lynx (Mayo Clinic), Phoenix Mercury (Casino Arizona), Indiana Fever (Finish Line),  Los Angeles Sparks (EquiTrust) and New York Liberty (DraftKings).

In October 2014, the NBA and ESPN announced an extension of the partnership between the WNBA and ESPN through which WNBA games would continue to be televised on ESPN networks through the 2025 season. 

The agreement extends the league’s relationship with ESPN, which commenced in 1997, to 29 years.

ESPN networks will air as many as 33 games this season, then will broadcast every WNBA post-season game, including the WNBA Finals presented by Verizon.

NBA TV will televise more than 40 games during the regular season.

Among the changes this season, the Tulsa Shock have relocated and rebooted as the Dallas Wings.

The 2016 season features a new regular-season schedule highlighted by more cross-conference games.

In addition, the playoffs will no longer be divided into the Eastern and Western conferences. Instead, the top eight teams by winning percentage will make the playoffs and will be seeded 1 through 8 by record.

As happened during the 2004, 2008 and 2012 seasons, the WNBA take a break in the schedule for the Summer Olympics, during which the U.S. will seek its sixth consecutive gold medal in women’s basketball,

With as many as 25 WNBA players likely to represent their respective countries at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5-21, the league has not scheduled any games from July 23-Aug. 25, also forgoing this season's All-Star Game.

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